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Sunday | September 23, 2018
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Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe (PS3 & X360)

Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe (PS3 & X360)

Midway games have just released one of the most unusual games of the year. It combines 22 characters from the Marvel and Mortal Kombat universe in a brutal slashfest …. if you ever fancied seeing who would win between Sub Zero and Superman then this might just be your thing.

Mortal Kombat
DC Universe
The Joker
Shang Tsung
The Flash
Wonder Woman
Liu Kang
Lex Luthor
Captain Marvel
Green Lantern
Shao Kahn

Fans of Mortal Kombat will remember that combat on their Super Nintendo was simple, you could jump by pushing up, left and right moved you in the respective directions and down was crouch. Being the best fighter revolved around you timing your blocks and attacks while dodging the fireballs and ranged attacks. This time around there is a 3d depth of field and you can move forward and backward (meaning you are able to avoid attacks on another plane), so it has all gotten a little more indepth.

The D-pad controls movement on the 2d level, which is crouching, jumping and moving left to right. If you hold down the L2 button the up and down arrows move you within the 3d scope. The left stick is reserved for 3d movement. Moving up or down in the 3d plane is great for defence however equally so, your opponents can sidestep some of your best attacks rather easily. All in all there are 14 arenas and the graphics are very impressive with a great diversity in environmental settings.

Fans of the Mortal Kombat franchise will be pleased to hear that the combos ring true to the genre and veterans will have no problems picking up the pad and unleashing some of the characters special moves. The developers have created a move list which is accessible by the pause menu and will aid you on your path to becoming a guru of pain … my favourite Sub Zero has still all his abilities, including the block of ice which hits his enemies on the head. The same level of detail has been applied to the Marvel group of characters: Superman has many powers and can punch his targets in the air, slamming them into the ground, causing a mini earthquake. Wonder Woman has her famous lasso which she can use to slam people around the environment and Captain Marvel has the famous "Mercury Bearhug" which lets him grab an opponent from behind and point them to the sky for the "Shazam!" lightning strike.

There are various fighting options: Test Your Might, Free Fall Kombat, Klose Kombat and Rage Mode.

Klose Kombat means you press the L1 to grab an opponent and the camera then zooms in to a close up view of the fighting. The face buttons of the controllers appear on either side of the screen for each player and it is up to the attacker to initiate his form of attack. This is handled by pushing the buttons with the defender quickly trying to match the button presses for his defence. If the guy on the defence manages this then the screen flips and the roles are reversed.

Free Fall Kombat has identical mechanics to Klose Kombat except you are falling through the air. These are initiated by an attacker ramming an opponent through a side wall of the environment and into a lower area. This time however, as you fall, a meter marked "Super" builds up. When it crosses a white line that divides the meter you can press R1 to achieve a supermove that forces the opponent into the ground below with extreme force. This can take off a huge percentage of the strength bar depending on the level of attack achieved. This Free Fall move is only available in environments with various vertical levels within the environment. These are nice touches which help differentiate the game from the combat masses.

Rage Mode is an interesting addition. As you are taking damage or using Supermoves, or you opponent is blocking attacks a two level bar is filling under your health meter. This is called the Rage Meter and when one of the bars is full you can press block and towards to perform a Kombo Breaker that will stop an opponent’s attack flurry. If you manage to get both levels of the meter filled then you can unleash Rage Mode which means your character will start to glow gold with power. This means you can take hits without being interrupted and you can break through blocks, it is a great way to come back into a fight if you have been losing, but equally so, if you have been playing great and lose to a friend merely due to this it can leave a sour taste in your mouth.

The last of these new combat additions is the Test Your Might mode. This is only available in a few locations such as Gotham City and Metropolis and the player initiating it tackles the other and begins running his body through adjacent walls. As the attack intensifies and you are running through wall after wall like a steam train you and your opponent are supposed to be hitting all of the buttons on the controllers … this moves a little triangle towards your player in a tug of war style competition. When this is over you or your foe will suffer up to 30% damage based on how far you had the arrow in your direction. This is an awesome looking addition to the game and it works very well when it happens.

When you first start single player in story mode you are asked to choose a side between Mortal Kombat and DC Universe. If you choose DC the game starts with Superman holding Darkseid above a destroyed Metropolis. Superman then smashes him to the ground and Lex Luthor shows up, initiating another fight between him and Superman. While this is happening, Darkseid sneaks away and escapes via a charged tube. Superman uses his heat vision in the attempt to stop him and the whole thing becomes unstable, exploding in a burst of energy. If you choose the Mortal Kombat team then the principal is the same with Raiden replacing Superman and Shao Kahn taking Darkseids place. When you start this mode with either team you don’t choose your character, you are assigned people and fight them through various chapters of the game. This means you get to sample all the characters on offer and no one dies in this mode as developer Midway are building up to a climatic finish and the option for Fatalities is not available. It is also worth noting that Fatalities are only available to Mortal Kombat characters and DC Villians. Characters like Superman or Batman have Brutalities, which render their opponents unconscious (they don’t kill people).

I am sure people are already wondering why Superman is in this game, surely he is indestructible? The storyline details that inter-dimensional explosions have created a rift between reality planes that is making the world merge into one. Characters swap places at random and Rage power is running amok meaning that powers of the characters are out of sync. Superman can now be hurt and the Joker has massive strength he never had before (obviously the only logical way that he would be able to damage Superman, cough). As you progress you are treated to some hilarious cut scenes and story boards which explain what is going on, and they are typically over the top and massively entertaining.

I had single player beaten in around 7 hours, however there is still arcade mode to expand upon the longevity aspect of the game. This is identical to all the MK arcade games of the past, you choose who you want to play with and then take them up the traditional Mortal Kombat tree via one on one battles. You can use Fatalities/Brutalities and build towards each characters unique ending. These endings aren’t  groundbreaking , but they mean that people will have added incentive to play this mode multiple times for the achievements.

Multiplayer is available, and you access one of four rooms (Outworld, Metropolis, Netherrealm and Gotham City). You are then transported to a chat room style interface, players and their connection rated are shown on the left meaning you can choose a player to suit your own tastes and fight until you or they leave. There is an online leaderboard as well which rates players on wins, best streak and most games played. The online experience was very positive with no lag on either platform.

Graphically the game runs very well on both Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 with no discernable differences. There are some issues with the models however and characters such as Superman will often have their cape half in and half out of the ground when knocked down. The environments range from very impressive to distinctly average and a few of the DC models are less than stellar.

One of the other downsides for hardcore Mortal Kombat players is the neutered nature of the game with the goal of achieving a Teen rating. Many of the gory end moves have been removed and instead just flashy punches or mid air slams take their place. This is a little disappointing, although I can perhaps understand that the powers that be do not want to see Superman getting his spine ripped out for breakfast.

Mortal Kombat V DC Universe is a really fun combat game which will appeal to a wide audience and has enough content to last considerable time if you are the kind of person who likes to learn all the moves and beat all the modes in a game. Hardcore Mortal Kombat veterans will be sadly disappointed by the family friendly nature of this game but equally so, perhaps this opens the franchise to a younger and more impressionable audience.



Great fighting action with a lot of moves to learn for all the characters.

Some little glitches here and there, but well polished all round.
Run of the mill music and sound effects, but you won’t really notice they are there.
Decent long term playability if you have friends or like playing online.
(not an average)

An interesting concept which turned out well.


About Author

Stuart Davidson

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